Germany wants to sell to other countries millions of spare swine flu vaccines because of fewer people than expected coming forward to be injected, the country's health minister said on Monday.
Philipp Roesler said that Germany's 16 states had requested the federal government to open talks with other countries about a sale of 2.2 million doses of the A(H1N1) influenza vaccine.
A health ministry senior official in the state of Thuringia, Hartmut Schubert, said that the vaccines could even be donated and that there had been requests from Afghanistan and Eastern European countries including Ukraine.
By the end of November, 9.6 million doses had been delivered to Germany. It has ordered 20 million doses to arrive by the end of December and 50 million by the end of March.
Schubert told the Westfalen-Blatt that Germany had more doses than it needed because only one dose is needed to be vaccinated, and not two as previously thought, and that fewer people than expected were getting vaccinated.
Roesler said that around five percent of Germany's 80-million-strong population had so far been vaccinated, corresponding to around four million people.
The World Health Organisation said on Friday that A(H1N1) was reaching a peak of intensity in much of western Europe, as the disease progressed into central Europe and through parts of Asia. In North America it had peaked and was declining.
The global death toll since the virus was uncovered in April currently stands at 8,768, with confirmed infections in 207 countries, according to the latest WHO figures.
In Germany, 86 people have died, around 85 percent of whom were ill with other ailments beforehand, according to authorities.